Saturday, August 21, 2010

Steph Burkhart Interview on The Giving Meadow

Welcome to my post in Steph Burkhart's blog tour for her book, The Giving Meadow. It's so cute looking! I haven't read the book, but just by the cover and the main character, it's bound to be a good children's book. (Note: At the end is information for a special giveaway. On Saturday only, the 21st, commenters will have a chance to win a prize. So, comment fast.)

Steph: I just want to thank Dawn for having me today on my blog tour for my children's book, "The Giving Meadow." (Me: awww... how nice. I'm glad to have you!)

About Steph:
 I was born in Manchester, NH but live in Castaic, California with my husband, Brent, and two sons, Andrew and Joseph.  I have fond memories of Manchester, but have made California my home. I earned a BS in political science from California Baptist University in 1995.

I have been writing since I was 5, first making homemade comic books. Now, I work on creating short stories and novels. I spent 11 years in the US Army and over 7 years in Germany. Writing is a passion that still challenges me. The Giving Meadow is my first children's book and my first book with 4RV Publishing.

The Interview:

DAWN: What book from your childhood remains an inspiration? What is it about the book that keeps inspiring?

STEPH:  For me, I would say that book is "Are You There God, it's me, Margaret," by Judy Blume. For one, I loved Blume's voice. It really spoke to me as a pre-teen. I felt like I was in the same place Margaret was. I loved how the book dealt with a lot of issues and anxieties. I guess that's why it still inspires – because it doesn't matter what time the book was written – issues young girls faced then when it was written are still issues faced today.

DAWN: How long have you been writing?

STEPH: Since I was five. I used to make homemade Spiderman comics. As I got older, I wrote poetry (and even had one published in my High School Literary magazine) short stories, but it wasn't until 1988 when I went to Berlin, did I get the urge to tackle novel writing.

Now, I grew up reading gothic romance in the vein of Victoria Holt so as I started writing longer pieces of fiction, I gravitated toward writing romances.

DAWN: Wow. You've been writing a long time. Would you prefer to write in silence or have music/noise?

STEPH: I would prefer silence, but I find I usually have to tolerate some background noise. The background noise just makes me lose concentration quicker.

DAWN: Noise can be distracting. Your publishing story is unique. Do you mind sharing how this children's story came to be?

STEPH: Until now, I've published romance. My first novel, "Destination: Berlin" is a "sweet" military romance. Children's writing is new to me, but rewarding. I got into children's writing through my church. I help to teach our Sunday preschool program and last year one of my fellow teachers suggested I write the Easter play. I came up with "The Giving Meadow." I showed Vivian (Gilbert Zabel) a fellow moderator at and she offered it a contract. It was a pleasant, unexpected surprise. I'm still feeling my way around the genre, but it's been a wonderful learning experience for me.

DAWN: Thank you for sharing that. I love and met Viv there as well. Did you have any specific source of inspiration for having a caterpillar the main character?

STEPH: -grin- Jesus. "The Giving Meadow" is about sharing, but I wanted to use a caterpillar because a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. Young children can understand that change. In His own way, Jesus goes through change similar to a caterpillar at Easter. A caterpillar's change helps young people relate to the mysteries of Easter.

DAWN: Interesting. I never would have thought about the link, but it makes sense. What message would you like other (children and adults that may read it) take from this book?

STEPH: For the children, sometimes you may not want to share, but when you do it's a wonderful feeling.

DAWN: Sharing is an important lesson. What's your favorite genre to read?

STEPH: I love reading romantic historicals and being swept away to another time and place.

DAWN: Being swept away is one joy of reading. Who are your favorite authors:

STEPH:  Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, Anne Rice, and JK Rowling.

DAWN: Nice. I've never read from any of those authors but have heard good things. What books do you like to recommend to others?

STEPH: Depends on what they want to read. I love Beth Bence Reinke's books with 4RV Publishing, "In my Bath," and "A Wish and a Prayer." Crystalee Calderwood's "Angeline Jellybean" is very cute. NA Sharpe's "If Fishes were Wishes," is also a charming story about being misunderstood.

DAWN: There are many great books out there. I still need to read Angeline Jellybean. Is there a genre you wouldn't write in?

STEPH:  -grins- No. I want to write every genre! One day…

DAWN: Cool. As a multi-genre writer it's good to hear others don't want to be limited. Do you have a project you are working on now?

STEPH:  Yes, it's a romance in the steampunk vein.  Steampunk is relativity new and is growing in popularity. It takes place in the Victorian Age and involves near-futuristic elements or paranormal elements. In my story, in an alternate time line, modern day royals, Alice and Edmund, travel back to 1851 where Alice has to prevent her cousin, Edmund, from building a dirigible for the Great Exhibition.

DAWN: Sweet. I'm also worldbuilding a Steampunk novel. Thank you, Steph, for such a wonderful interview.

Where readers can find Steph:






Stephen's Web Presence: Illustrator for the book, The Giving Meadow.




Giveaway:Leave a comment here on this blog post. If you can add your email address, that would be helpful so Steph will know who to contact but I'll also announce the winners on here.

2 winners will receive an authographed postcard of the cover
1 winner will get a mousepad of the cover

Winners will be drawn out of a hat (cause old school approaches are awesome!), and announced on August 22nd, Sunday.


StephB said...

Dawn, thanks so much for having me and Caterpillar today.


Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Steph and Dawn,
Great interview and seems like Caterpillar is making his way around the blog world. I know my grands would love this book and I like the lesson it shares.
Best wishes for success,

RaShelle said...

Dawn, fabu interview!

Steph, The cover is adorable. I love it! And the book sounds amazing too.


Beth Reinke said...

Aw, Steph, thanks for recommending my books. I appreciate that! :o) I love The Giving Meadow, too. and Caterpillar sure is getting around.

You brought back memories by mentioning Judy Blume's book, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. I loved that book, too. ;o)

LK Hunsaker said...

Hey Steph, thought I'd run through your tour again! I don't think I've read Margaret. I might have to someday. ;-)

Nice to 'meet' you, Dawn. Good luck with your own projects!

StephB said...

Thanks so much to everyone who popped in. It was fun visiting with Dawn. Caterpillar is getting very plumb and starting to slow down a little. :)

Congrats to PC winners RaShelle and LK Hunsaker. Send me an email with your snail mail and I'll get those right out to you.

Big congrats to Rebecca for winning the mousepad!

You can send me an email at: or